Bryan Brothers named
to Davis Cup squad
Ashley Marshall | February 10, 2020
Mike and Bob Bryan will represent Team USA in Hawaii next month in what will be the final Davis Cup tie of their illustrious careers.
The most successful doubles team of all time will suit up for captain Mardy Fish’s squad when the U.S. hosts Uzbekistan in Honolulu, March 6-7, with a spot in November’s final on the line.
The brothers will be joined by 22-year-olds Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka—who each made their Davis Cup debut in November's finals against Canada—and Davis Cup rookie Tommy Paul, who reached a career-high No. 70 in the world last week.
While Fritz, Opelka and Paul will likely feature in many Davis Cup ties down the road, all eyes will be on the Bryan brothers, who made their Davis Cup debut 17 years ago against the Slovak Republic as part of a squad that also featured Andy Roddick and current captain Fish.ADVERTISEMENT
“They want to win, that’s first and foremost, but then hopefully it can be a celebration of their Davis Cup career," Fish said. "It’s so unique, it’s the ultimate team competition and the one with the most history, and these guys want to do well.
“I hope it’ll be really, really special for them because it certainly is for the captain and for the rest of the players. It’s very special for me personally, and I couldn’t be more excited to share the bench with them. I wish it was three-out-of-five sets, and I wish it was more than just one match, but we’ll savor the entire thing, and hopefully they’ll dominate like they always do. I hope it’s a very special week for them because they mean the world to a lot of people that have played Davis Cup over the years."
Mike and Bob announced last fall that 2020 will be their last year on tour, with the US Open in September earmarked as their final tournament.
As part of a farewell tour of sorts, the twins now hope to add one more chapter to their Davis Cup legacy. It will be the brothers’ 15th year representing Team USA in Davis Cup play. No other American man has been on the team as long, with John McEnroe in third place having played Davis Cup for 12 years.
The next-highest active player after the Bryan brothers is John Isner with nine. It will also be a record-extending 33rd tie for Mike, with Bob moving into second place on America’s all-time list with 31 appearances. Mike has played three Davis Cup ties at which his brother was not present, while Bob played once without Mike.
The Bryans already lead the way with the most doubles victories for Team USA, with Mike winning 27 matches and Bob 25. As a tandem, the brothers have a 24-5 doubles record together. That winning percentage is good for sixth all-time on the U.S. team among duos who have played at least eight matches together.
"I was on the phone with them [Thursday], and we started talking about 17 years ago, the first Davis Cup tie we were together in Slovakia," Fish said. "It was a good win, and at the end of that tie, we were leaving the next morning, and we were all tired. I offered Bob $100 to pack for me, and he did it and took it and packed for me. Now full circle, 17 years later, and they’re still on the team, and I’m the captain, and I get to sit next to the bench for one more match. I couldn’t be more excited.
"For them to play and be the rock of this team, the grandpas of this team, was a really enticing opportunity for me. I put it in a way of, ‘Hey, man. You guys deserve this, the fans deserve this, the team deserves this.’ They deserve the respect and honor of playing one last time. But make no mistake, this is not a charity event. They’re the best team we can put out there, and I want the best team out there."
Should the brothers win against Uzbekistan, they will move into a tie for fifth with Ken Flach and Robert Seguso, who went 10-2 together, also an .833 winning percentage. The twins made their Davis Cup debut in 2003, recording a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 win over Dominik Hrbaty and Karol Beck of the Slovak Republic on an outdoor clay court at the National Tennis Centre in Bratislava in the World Group playoffs.
That started a run of 16 straight Davis Cup ties, from 2003 through the 2008 World Group quarterfinals in Winston-Salem, N.C., during which time they compiled a 14-2 record and helped the U.S. to a record-extending 32nd title in 2007.
Mike partnered Fish in the 2008 World Group semifinals against Spain in Madrid when Bob was recovering from a shoulder injury that had been bugging him since Wimbledon earlier that summer, and he played with Fish again in the 2012 World Group first-round sweep of Switzerland in Fribourg less than two weeks after Bob and his wife Michelle gave birth to their first child Micaela.
Mike also teamed up with Ryan Harrison to face Croatia in Zadar in the 2018 World Group semifinals when Bob was recovering from season-ending hip surgery.
Bob partnered John Isner in the 2010 World Group first-round tie against Serbia in Belgrade after a last-minute lineup change. Mike was diagnosed with food poisoning on the morning of the doubles match, forcing U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe to substitute Isner in just 80 minutes before the match began.
The brothers last played Davis Cup together in 2016, falling in four sets to Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in an eventual 3-2 World Group quarterfinal loss to Croatia at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Portland, Ore.
Now, they will suit up for Team USA one last time.
"I’ve told them many times that it would be incredible personally for me to be their captain," Fish added. "They’re going to play their last tournament at the US Open for a reason, and they’re going to play their last Davis Cup match—a home tie—for a reason. I was elated when they said yes."
The deadline for Uzbekistan's team nominations is Feb. 25.